An Israeli firm has developed new lithium-ion batteries for electric cars that it claims only take five minutes to fully charge.
Alongside “range anxiety” – how far a car can travel on one charge – auto analysts have long urged tech breakthroughs to expedite charging to times experienced by drivers filling up with petrol or diesel.
Factory production of the batteries by Israeli company StoreDot this week marked a step forward, said advocates who see uptake of electric vehicles as crucial in the fight against climate change.
StoreDot had already developed rapid-charging battery technology in phones, drones, and scooters, and has now shown it in cars, it said. Early investors include Daimler, BP, and Samsung.
Critics said that fully charging the battery in five minutes would require much higher-powered chargers than are used today. They also said five minutes’ charging only adds 100 miles – far from the full range available in the latest models. But the company said it had solved a big problem.
“The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety,” said StoreDot chief executive Doron Myersdorf.
“You’re either afraid you’re going to get stuck on the highway or you’re going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a non-electric car], this whole anxiety goes away.”
Experts said technology like StoreDot’s was still years off a mass market, because its batteries – which replace graphite with semiconductor nano-particles – are complex and expensive to produce, which will limit it to top-of-the-range models only.
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